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Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Ireland hoping for NZ fairytale

Venue: Croke Park Date: Saturday, 15 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Sport website, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Brian O'Driscoll and Girvan Dempsey during Ireland training
Brian O'Driscoll and Girvan Dempsey during Ireland training

Girvan Dempsey says Ireland are determined to mark Brian O'Driscoll's 50th Test as captain by beating New Zealand at Croke Park on Saturday.

Ireland have never beaten the Southern Hemisphere side in 21 attempts.

"Beating the All Blacks for the first time on the same day as Brian reaches his 50 Tests as captain would be fairytale stuff," said the full-back.

"All the players are aware of the achievement and will do everything they can to ensure it's a special day."

"Brian is such a quality player, you just have to look at the sterling performances he's put in for Ireland and Leinster to see how good he is," added Dempsey.

"What stands out about him is that he always brings his best game to the big occasion.

"As a captain he's vocal but primarily he's a captain who leads by example.

We must not be weak in any area - Kidney

"He controls things exceptionally well and is very level headed.

"That helps his decision-making on what we should do and how the backline should attack.

"He's very quick to see opportunities to attack places and his communication means that is translated across the backline very quickly."

The Irish skipper is among the favourites to lead the Lions in South Africa and Dempsey believes he is the standout candidate.

"Brian was unlucky that he wasn't able to prove himself in New Zealand but from what I've heard from other players everyone was very happy with the job he did," he said.

"I hope he gets the opportunity - he should certainly be among the leading contenders for the job."

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see also
O'Driscoll eyes All Blacks scalp
12 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
NZ make 11 changes for Irish game
11 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 55-0 Canada
08 Nov 08 |  Irish
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish

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